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The curious case of bean seeds

THE YCIS Ecology Action Team has been conducting an experiment to see what soil is best for growing plants. The soils used in the experiment are potting soil, clay, sand, worm castings and plain water (which was a definite failure - it is rotting and it reeks!).

We cut bottles in half and stuck the top of the bottles into the bottoms, and then filled them with the different soils. We then put three seeds 2 centimeters deep in each container. We gave each of them the same amount of water and put them on a windowsill in the sunlight. We had a little surprise when we watered the sand the second time - two seeds floated to the top.

One grew, however, the second died and became slightly rotten. Another surprise when - lo and behold! - one of the seeds in the worm castings started growing much too deep in the bottle. We dug it out though, and it is now growing perfectly fine.

At present, the seeds in the potting soil are in the best condition - they have the fullest leaves, the tallest shoots and, overall, look most healthy. The next best may be the seeds in the sand. However, they are not the ones with the fullest or greenest leaves, yet they are taller than the one in the worm castings. It's hard to judge, because the seeds in the worm castings are greener than the ones in the sand, but not the tallest. At any rate, the clay is definitely losing - it has become more of a home to fungus rather than bean seeds. Evidently, the clay was too thick to allow the seeds to grow their roots. Well, we'll just have to see how the results play out!

Article by Anna, Year 6 student of YCIS Shanghai


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